How To Avoid 8 Embarrassing Situations

This post is brought to you by Wearever Incontinence Panties.

1. Forgetting someone’s name
at a party

Quickly say “hi” and introduce your companions to her, hoping she introduces herself
back to them (and you).

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Smart Women Finish Rich: Discover The 9 Steps To Help You Achieve Your Financial Goals And Dreams

I’ve often joked that I hope my body gives out before my money runs out.

The prospect of ever living from hand-to-mouth is mighty distressing, but I hate thinking about my financial future. I figure I’ll always be able to make an income, no matter how old I am. After all, I’ve been supporting myself since I graduated college. Never needed a man for that.

WRONG! What if I get sick and can’t work? How long will I be able to keep going before my money does, indeed, run out? I feel vulnerable just thinking about it.

And when I look at many of my women friends, whose husbands have handled their finances for decades, they’re in the same boat I am. They avoid talk of money at all costs. It’s too darn intimidating. But what if their hubbies die first? Will they be left financially secure?

One of my closest friends was literally left “holding the bag” when her husband died in his 50s. But the bag was virtually empty because his business was practically under water, and what little he had left went to healthcare costs. My friend had to create a new life on her own: Downsize her home; get a job (she hadn’t worked since college); learn how to live on a budget. It was a scary time for her.

So when the folks from Edelman Financial Services approached us about their 90-minute Smart Women Finish Rich seminars, they got my attention.

Wouldn’t it be worth it to spend such a little amount of time if what I learn could help me to take charge of my financial future, and to feel safer and more secure?

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Where There’s a Will, Nothing Gets in the Way

None of us enjoys thinking about our demise, but it’s crucial to understand why we need to prepare a will, and to get it done, pronto! Simply put, this legal document clearly explains how we wish to have our “estate” distributed when we’re gone. This includes our bank accounts, property, financial investments, and material possessions, from jewellery to photo albums. If we don’t leave a will, the government takes control of our estate and decides who gets it, making it even more difficult for our family during an already stressful time.

A properly drafted will puts us in control and ensures that our exact wishes are carried out.

Even if you aren’t leaving a king’s ransom, you’ll still want your worldly possessions to go to the beneficiaries of your choice, not to some long lost relatives who you haven’t seen in decades.

You can write your own will. As long as it’s witnessed and signed properly, it’s just as valid as if a high-priced lawyer drafted it. Of course, the more complicated and extensive your estate, the more likely you’ll want and need an attorney who specializes in wills to help guide you through the process, to whom do you want to leave the care of your young children? Who gets the country house outside of London, the apartment in Paris and the beach house in the Hamptons? Who will pay your debts?

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This 10-Second Quiz Could Change Your Life

Select one or more of the options below.

  • Something you create (i.e. jewelry, art, hand-knitted pieces) (40%, 293 Votes)
  • A service you provide (i.e. travel agent, recruiter, accountant, makeup artist) (30%, 220 Votes)
  • Your cherished items (i.e. antiques, jewelry, furniture, accessories) (22%, 161 Votes)
  • Products you represent (i.e. beauty products, clothing) (20%, 151 Votes)
  • Something else—comment and tell us below! (7%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 737

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The Sky’s The Limit

Let’s say you recently received oodles of money (as in money is no object). Perhaps you won the lottery or inherited a fortune. And let’s say you want to move to a new home and you’re leaving your mind open as to location, size and style.

Take a look at the layout of this place.

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{FOF Woman of The Week} Annelie Nordström

Annelie Nordström, 57, has discovered the answer to Sweden’s gender wage gap—switch genders! Chairwoman of Kommunal, Sweden’s largest municipal workers’ union, Annelie released a powerful video, How to Get a Raise in 47 Seconds, on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Part of a ‘Be A Man’ campaign, it shows a team of makeup artists brilliantly transforming Annelie into a man before our eyes. While the video is a clever public service announcement created to expose the country’s wage disparity, Annelie means business and wants equal pay for women and men, now! Women in Sweden earn about $346,000 less than men over their working lives. Women in the United States earn about 77 percent as much as their male counterparts.

Annelie’s blog says she’s “a nanny by profession,” but started working in human resources and politics, ultimately landing her powerful position at Kommunal. Over 80 percent of its members are women. The ‘Be A Man’ campaign features an app inviting women to submit photos and transform themselves into men, dressed in a variety of outfits from business suits to construction gear. Try it yourself!

Annelie lives in Stockholm and has a son named Jens. For the movement she’s started in her country, and its potential impact around the world, Annelie Nordström is FOF Woman of the Week.

[Read: {FOF Woman of The Week} Helen Mirren]

You tell us!

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{Money} 7 Tips for Single Women’s Retirement Bliss

Single ladies: just because you’re living on one income, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve retirement bliss. FOF Jan Cullinane, author of The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement, shows you how.

And, married FOFs, listen up too! According to Jan, “even if you are married there’s an 80-90% chance you’ll be single at some point in your life.”

1. Separate your wants from your needs. Studies have shown that when women are asked what they ‘need’–they include professional hair coloring, vacations, buying gifts for occasions, high-speed internet. These are things that maybe our parents generation didn’t think of as needs. Really think about your needs compared to your wants as a start to your ‘lifetime planning,’ a term I prefer to use over ‘retirement planning.’ When you think of it this way, you’re less likely to put it off.

2. Pay yourself first. Say you’re divorced or widowed and have boomerang kids who return to live with you. Or, say you want to pay for your kids or grandkids education. Take care of your financial needs first–it sounds selfish but it’s not. You don’t want to become a burden on your children and run out of money. Kids have a lot longer of horizon to recuperate than FOFs.

3. Consider downsizing your home. This can be a great way to save money. Let’s say you’re living in the Northeast somewhere and you could sell your home there and live a lot less expensively somewhere else–really think long and hard about that. Your money could go a lot farther. Also, when you choose a home where you’ll spend your post-career years–make sure you can live there as long as you can. Having a first-floor master bedroom, curbless shower, comfort height toilets or non-slip flooring isn’t always what you’ll be looking for when your house hunting, but it’s important.

4. Be flexible about working. Working can accomplish a lot, and not only benefit you with money. It can give you structure, intellectual stimulation and a social life. So, working in your “retirement” years can be a great thing, even if you are scaling back. There are some part-time jobs such as a classroom aid, crossing guard, Starbucks or Trader Joes employee that provide health benefits. We are not talking about huge bucks, but the benefits can go a long way in making your retirement successful.

5. Stay healthy. By exercising and practicing good nutrition you will reduce the odds of falling ill with expensive diseases and conditions. If you do happen to become sick, if you are in good health, you’ll be in a better position to recover.

6. Delay your social security as long as possible. Some people just can’t do that, but if you can and you live long enough you certainly recoup more.

7. Practice. Practice living on what you feel your retirement income will be. Also, practice feeling resilient so that if you’re knocked down you can get back up again. Single women are great at that, because they are responsible for themselves and have developed great social support.

{Money} How to Shop for Free: Confessions of an Extreme Couponer

FOFrugal?! Kathy Spencer, author of “How to Shop for Free,” lives off a yearly income of $45,000, feeding her family of six on just $4 dollars per week. (You read that right!) She saves an estimated $60,000 per year with her tried and true couponing tricks. Here, she shares some of her best saving secrets, including the hardest item to get for free (and how she succeeded at getting it), how to become “rich at the drugstore,” and ways to cut down your weekly grocery bill.

Enter to win a copy of Kathy’s book, “How to Shop for Free,” by answering this question in the comments below: what was the best thing you ever got for free (or almost free?)

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Where can someone find the best coupons?
Coupon inserts.  Before the truck comes to pick up the unsold papers at your local gas station or convenience store, ask if you can take the inserts. Put a donation box for coupons at a local church.

What online resources can you recommend for coupons?
Coupons.com, and SmartSource.com. You can print coupons off [those] websites.

Do you have a system for organizing all of your coupons?
On my website I have something called the Coupon Database, so if you wanted to know if there was a coupon for Crest toothpaste, [you can search ‘toothpaste’] and it would pull up all the inserts that came out with coupons for toothpaste. I cut the coupons from the insert and organize them by date in my file cabinet. For my coupons [that I’m ready to use,] I have a little [ziploc] baggy for every store I go to.  Those bags go in my purse, so that if I’m driving around I have my coupons and am ready to go.

Can you offer some couponing tips for once you have your coupons organized and ready to go?

  • 1) Be patient. I didn’t get my spending down to 4 dollars a week [right away]. I started challenging myself. The best thing to do is to start tracking how much you save [each week.]
  • 2) Set a realistic goal. Go over your receipts to find out what you really are spending each week. Then give yourself a goal. If you’re spending 300 dollars a week at the grocery store, take a baby step and [aim for] 5-10% off of that, so it’s not so scary and drastic, it’s doable.
  • 3) Only take cash to the store. That way you don’t make spontaneous purchases.
  • 4) Track it all. As long as you’re keeping a chart [with your savings], you’re going to feel empowered. You did it this week, you’ve got [extra] money in your pocket.
  • 5) Always stick to your list. Once you have that list, you’re going to be in and out of the grocery store quicker than ever.
  • 6) Get as many free things as you can. Any time something is free, get as much of it as you can. Don’t get one or two — you want to buy for a year out. If you don’t have [enough] coupons [for the items that are free], you can [get the coupons] on eBay for a couple of bucks. Your stockpile [of household necessities] will get bigger and bigger, and your list of needs will get smaller and smaller, until you reach your goal budget. As long as you’re focused and determined, anyone can do it.

Kathy often showcases the stockpiles of her coupon cutting devotees on her blog.

How do you feel about deal sites like Groupon, or LivingSocial?
I love them! LivingSocial is one of my favorites. Not only is everything discounted, but for every three friends you refer, you get [the deal] for free. I’ll buy it and put it on my website or my Facebook page and say, “look, this is what I got, it’s a great deal!” When three people buy the deal, it makes mine completely free. You can’t get better than that.

Do you use any shopping apps?
My favorite is the barcode scanner. If you’re in a store and you see, let’s say a baby carrier that you want, you can scan the product barcode and it will tell you where in your vicinity it’s for sale.

Can you recommend any deals specifically for FOFs?
If you’re over fifty, you may be [considered] senior citizens, and a lot of stores and restaurants such as Kohl’s and Denny’s offer seniors special savings.

How do you get beauty products  for free?
You can get all drugstore items completely free. I get everything at CVS. Take advantage of their Extra Care program. It gives you 2% back (in Extra Care bucks) on all purchases, and $1 of Extra Care bucks for every 2 prescriptions filled. Extra Care bucks are just like monopoly money [you can use them on anything in the store.] You can keep adding coupons on top of that. You can actually become rich at drugstores. I have a member on my website [who shops at] Rite Aid. Whatever she gets, works out completely free, with a rebate and coupons. The Rite Aid rebate turns your coupons into cash. She’s made over $10,000 in free Rite Aid money, which translates to cash once she gets the [rebate] check.

What about clothing?
At Ann Taylor and The Loft, and they have sales that are 40% off, and then they’ll offer different coupons or a savings card that says spend $50 get $25 off. So if a brand new shirt was $50 and then you get 40% off, that brings it to $30, and if you had $25 off $50 that would bring it down to $15. You can stack that coupon there, and also at New York and Company. If you don’t have those savings cards, you can go on Ebay and buy them for a very minimal [amount], maybe $1.

What is the hardest item to get for free?
Heating oil, which I thought was impossible. I’ve actually had two or three free fill-ups so far. There’s a program called Neighbor’s Oil. You go on and you sign up to find out what companies offer the best deal in your neighborhood. It does all of the price shopping for you. There’s no cost to sign up, and for every person you refer, you get a $10 credit. If ten of your friends sign up, that’s $100 in free oil.

Is there anything you can’t get for free?
Everyone asks me that. I say a car, but you can get that through freecar.com, or if you put advertisements on your car.  I look at everything like a math problem — there’s always a solution but some of them are easier to figure out. [Free] toothpaste is easy, but things like an in-ground pool, you must challenge yourself. There’s a way to get anything for free if you just think outside  the box.

Enter to win a copy of Kathy’s book, “How to Shop for Free,” by answering this question in the comments below: what was the best thing you ever got for free (or almost free?)

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One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes July 19th, 2012 at midnight E.S.T.